US donates P1.38 B defense gear to boost PH efforts to secure borders

Published December 8, 2020, 9:31 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The United States defense department donated on Tuesday, Dec. 8,  P1.38 billion or $29 million worth of defense gear to the Philippine government to boost to the country’s efforts to secure its borders.

U.S. and Philippine flags (U.S. Embassy in the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. accepted the military paraphernalia which was turned over by acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller as a symbol of the two countries’ “continued warm alliance.”

Apart from the defense gear which included sniper rifles and anti-improvised explosive device equipment, Miller also informed Lorenzana that one C130 military transport aircraft will be delivered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on December 17.

“We are grateful for the support provided by the United States as we continuously work on the enhancement of the Philippines’ defense capabilities,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

“The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats to our maritime nation. Our government expresses our deep appreciation for the US government’s assistance in protecting our borders from external threats,” he added.

During the meeting of the two Defense chiefs, Miller highlighted the long-standing and steadfast alliance between Manila and Washington, as well as the US government’s commitment to helping the country secure its national and regional security. 

He also mentioned the US government’s P1.1 billion or $23.4 million COVID-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims and its support for the Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.

The US defense has earlier transferred defense equipment to several special mission units of the AFP to support its modernization goals. 

The DND said that the new equipment will strengthen the AFP’s joint precision strike, sniper, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities.

US Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett earlier handed over to the Philippine Navy a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System, while US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s donated P868 million or $18 million in supplementary military equipment and training to the AFP. 

The Philippines is the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.